In the pharmacy field, there are basically two main jobs: the pharmacist and the pharmacy technician. There may be others working in the pharmacy as well, such as pharmacy assistants and cashiers, but the focus of this article will be on these two main jobs.
The pharmacist and the pharmacist technician, working in a setting such as Europa Pharmacy, work together as part of a healthcare team. They receive patients’ prescriptions, decipher the doctor’s orders, select the medication from their stock, count or measure it, create a label with the relevant information, and give the medication to the patient. But that’s not all. These jobs also require the person to counsel the patient on any possible risks, side effects or interactions between the new medication and any existing prescriptions, to manage insurance coverage claims, and to make recommendations for over-the-counter remedies based on each patient’s symptoms.
Careers in pharmacy can be very stressful. It is very important to be well educated and well versed on medications, possible interactions and risks, etc. so as to give accurate, helpful information that does not put patients at risk.
Let’s look at each of these two jobs more closely:
A pharmacist is known in the medical field as being the true drug experts. Many doctors will freely admit that pharmacists know more about medications than they do. These are the most highly trained people working in the pharmacy. He or she will have the most in-depth education and certification to dispense medications etc. in the region in which they work. Although a pharmacy assistant may be the one who receives the prescription from the patient, it is virtually always the pharmacist who verifies the prescription before it is filled and give to the patient. It is also the pharmacist who is responsible for giving dosing instructions, risk information and other warnings about the drug to the patient.
Sometimes, a pharmacist is called upon to offer advice to doctors and other medical professionals for their advice about medications. In some cases, pharmacists can also administer some injections (flu shots, for example) and write prescriptions, but this is regulated by the laws in each state/province/country.
In college, students looking to graduate with a degree in pharmacology will take courses in things like:
The pharmacy technician’s job is not as involved with the actual medications as a pharmacist’s is, but they nonetheless play a very important role in the pharmacy setting. They are the ones who typically greet customers, answer telephone calls, and it is typically they who deals directly with doctors and insurance companies, and performing pharmacological measurements.
Part of the education for this job include courses in medical terminology, prescriptions, dosages, drug relations, drug manufacturers, anatomy, chemistry, and drug emergencies.
If you are considering a career in the medical field, but aren’t sure whether a doctor or nurse is the right fit for you, consider a career in pharmacy.